MANILA – The local government of Malay has launched an investigation on a party that allegedly caused the recent spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in Boracay, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Tuesday.
“The DOT commends the Municipal Government of Malay for its swift action to issue a Memorandum to Conduct an Investigation to the concerned business establishment,” it said in a statement.
The DOT reiterated that the safety of tourism destinations such as Boracay “is a shared responsibility among the government, community members, businesses, and visitors.”
The entire Barangay Balabag was recently placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) while Zones 1 and 7 of Barangay Manocmanoc were declared under “surgical lockdown” until April 14 due to a surge in Covid-19 cases. As of March 31, Balabag has 46 active cases while Manocmanoc has 27.
A tourist from Luzon who visited a friend in Boracay Island on March 10 was identified as the source of the virus. The tourist left Boracay on March 13 and was tested positive for Covid-19 on March 16.
However, the visitor failed to inform the close contact in Boracay who also manifested symptoms and was brought to the hospital on March 23. In a span of one a week, a number of people were reportedly exposed as the tourist also attended a party on the island.
The DOT vowed to closely coordinate with local officials and tourism establishments in Boracay to ensure a stricter implementation of health and safety protocols to prevent any mass gatherings on the island.
“The Department maintains that responsible tourists are welcome to enjoy the island and urges visitors to observe minimum health standards such as wearing of masks and face shields, practice frequent and proper handwashing, and ensure physical distancing at all times,” it said. Joyce Ann L. Rocamora / PNA – northboundasia.com